As the time to start planning a birthday party for Ruby Red approached, my husband and I hemmed and hawed about whether or not to invite great aunts and uncles and my husband's co-workers. It may seem odd to even consider co-workers, but with husbands that travel as often, sporadic, and last-minute as ours do, we have become second families to each other and celebrate our children's birthdays and even holidays like Thanksgiving together. I was worried about how big the party would be but my husband and I settled on inviting everyone. It's an honor and a blessing to have such loving family and friends who want to be a part of your little kiddos lives and since we won't be with this group of friends forever or in this area for too much longer, it just felt right. We've resolved that these people really love us and our children and are so excited when asked to come to their parties, so we will do just that. The girls parties will be significantly smaller as we move away from family so we're going to appreciate it right now.
The only problem my husband and I had with the big party was all the gifts. Sure I could, and did last year, put a note in the invitations saying "no gifts necessary" but I've realized that if they don't want to they won't bring a gift, and if they want to they will anyway. In fact, I resolved that this time if someone asked me what she wanted or liked I would give very forthright answers. I hate it when I ask someone what they're child is interested in and the parents acts all humble saying "Oh you don't need to get her/him anything...." It drives me crazy! If I'm asking, I'm going to get the child something so please give me some direction. I don't find you modest. I find it down-right frustrating as I fumble through the kid's aisles wondering what the heck the child and parent will be ok with! I know I don't have to get "little Mary" something, but maybe I want to so please help me out unless you want to complain about the gift I did choose. (Obviousy this is a big pet-peeve of mine!)
As her party approached we were both a little anxious as we didn't know what to expect with presents. We surely didn't invite anybody for the gifts but knew they would be there, looming over both of us like a big rain-cloud. I also wasn't sure how Ruby Red would react to gifts. Many parents that I am friends with have told stories of how their kids were out of control with the "gimmies" on their birthdays and how embarrassing it was....I've also witnessed it and been appalled. But those same parents complain about the volume of toys in their house and I'm left wondering how many they really have. I've actually wanted a few more toys for Ruby Red, who has since become bored with all the baby toys her sister is in to playing with. However, I also wanted it clear to Ruby Red that it's not about the gifts but about the people who love her and want to share her special day with her. Never getting new toys unless it's her birthday or Christmas, I was worried she would be on "gift-overload".
Ruby Red was a true gem and set the tone very nicely. In fact, I was so impressed with her graciousness with every gift, many times running up to whoever gave her the latest gift to thank them and give them a hug. I here have to take a moment to thank her grandparents as well. I have seen that children who get gifts all year long from grandmas and grandpas tend to be more bratty than others. No really. It's like they think they're entitled to be spoiled. I don't blame the children but the parents who don't nip this in the bud. My parents and in-laws have given an occastional unexpected gift here and there, but it's always been something thoughtful and small and often needed like an outfit or pair of shoes. When she does receive gifts she truly appreciates them because she's not looking for them. For anyone who knows Ruby Red, her 1st "love language" may be quality time but her 2nd is gift giving. Two tiny orange tic tacs as a reward for a good day send her through the roof with joy and a popcicle at grandma's is amazing! (For the record, even though we have popcicles at home, they're more for when a visitor comes so they're still a big deal to her....) It's not about how big it is, it's the thought behind that little gift and I hope she's learning that. Her grandparents have certainly helped in that department and I thank them for setting their priorities for our children by not being excessive, but rather loving and selfless in ways that extend beyond all the "stuff" and help her focus herself on her true prize of getting to Heaven.
So, in summary, thank you to everyone who loves our girls so much. And thank you to Ruby Red. Mommy and daddy were both so proud of you. We hope you have a fun and lively 3rd year. I can't wait to see all the things you create, all the kisses you give the new baby, and all the time you spend playing with Baby Blue. You are a greater gift than we could have ever imagined!
|Ruby Red thanking her Godmother|